I have always drawn - it is the basis of all forms of art. But recently, after a spell of pottery, jewellery making and semi abstract painting, I had somehow managed to lose the habit.
I’d found that too much pre-planning and designing would make me feel bored with projects, preferring to get straight on with the pot, earrings or painting and “see what happens” rather than my usual approach which is to make a series of sketches first.
I felt fine about my “charge straight in and ask questions later” approach to my work, but had a nagging feeling that not doing any drawing at all was going to be a problem later on.
So I got out the pencils and tried to draw, but found I had no enthusiasm for it. I tried with my fine nib pens. Same problem. Crayons, pastels and graphite sticks all had the same effect.
I was bored. But was I bored with the usual materials or just with the idea of drawing? Well, I had the urge to draw so it must be the materials. But what to try? I was at a loss so I just left it.
Then one day scrolling through the Notes app on my iPhone I found myself wondering what the little pen symbol was for. A few clicks later I had found a basic drawing & painting feature.
I was sitting by a beautiful little waterfall at the time, and made a crude sketch, struggling with the fat finger / tiny screen aspect. But I loved the drawing I’d made!
I’ve done lots more now, taking just a few minutes over them, learning how to make the colour opaque or transparent, which pen or pencil to use and how to erase annoying bits. I enjoy not being very good at it, not quite knowing what it will look like and not minding that my lines are wonky and weird looking.
If you have an app for taking quick notes on your phone why not explore a bit and have a go at drawing with it?
In May I walked. Freed from my usually very busy B&B routine of meet & greet, breakfast, cleaning & laundry I had time to explore my beautiful home area on foot.
The sun shone, the air was clean and full of bird song. I found public footpaths everywhere, through woods, between fields, along streams and over moors.
I walked on the coastal paths, joining up the bits I hadn’t walked before with the more popular bits that everyone knows. I found mining heritage areas, bronze age sites and hidden hamlets.
Climbing the hills I found, towers, quarries, quoits, cairns, memorials and bronze age settlements. I learnt to recognise each from the next day’s hill, learning the lie of the land with its valleys and peaks.
Flowers everywhere and early butterflies flitting around. I took photos and learnt the names when I got home using my old Readers Digest Britain’s Wildlife, Plant & Flowers, the best book I ever bought.
I found a field full of tall daisies and buttercups, so beautiful that I shed a tear! A small but perfect bluebell wood along a country lane had a similar effect.
When the sun got too hot I swam and paddled in pools, streams and on almost deserted beaches. I studied the area on google earth and headed for the shady wooded valleys with streams and rivers flowing through.
All the time I took photos. I made no other art, not wanting to keep still long enough and waste the great exploring weather. On facebook I posted the photos a few at a time and made a “vote for your favourite’ event each evening. My facebook friends enjoyed choosing their favourite tree / yellow flower / beetle etc and looked forward to each day’s offerings.
Chris joined me on some of the walks, though mostly I went alone. He and I have decided to try to get out more in spring and summer from now on, having discussed how to minimise chores and make more space for exploring. We have missed out on so much these last few years just by not making more effort to get away from the house!